New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Rep. Michael M. Honda, a fellow Democrat from California, announced yesterday they were introducing a bill in Congress intended to boost opportunities for immigrants to learn English. The bill contains a couple of provisions that could benefit school-age English-language learners. It increases funding for the U.S. Department of Education's Even Start Family Literacy program, for instance, and proposes a $1,500 tax credit for teachers of English-language learners (I surmise this means specialists, not any mainstream teacher who has a few ELLs in her class) and a deduction for certification.
The text of the bill, "Strengthening Communities Through Education and Integration Act," or H.R. 6617, isn't yet available on Thomas, so I'm working from a summary posted on Mr. Honda's Web site.
The bill seems to be mostly focused on expanding opportunities for adults to take English and civics classes. It offers tax credits, for example, to businesses that provide their workers with English literacy and General Educational Development training. It proposes creating an "office of citizenship and immigrant integration" in the Department of Homeland Security. Hmmm, I wonder how it would work to have the same office that arrests immigrants who are living illegally in the country to also be in charge of "integration."
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund put out a press release supporting the bill and saying the organization helped to draft it.